Ana Calvillo, Economic Development Director in Monclova, Mexico, discusses potential business opportunities with Dr. Jack Mogab, Director, Center for Latin American Commerce, right, and Dr. Diego Vacaflores, Department of Finance & Economics, with Texas State University during a tour of the Ferro Arte Furniture Manufacturing plant in Monclova. (Below) Phyllis Snodgrass meets with Chamber Board in Monclova, Mexico to share best practices and compare organization goals and objectives. Jason & Karen Tarr, San Marcos Chamber members, were present to share their experiences as members. Also present was Julio Rosado, Board Member of the San Marcos Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
From Economic Development San Marcos
Monclova, Mexico is forging more than just steel these days. Last week, they hosted a 24-member trade mission expedition from sister city, San Marcos, Texas and discovered that relationships may prove as important to their economy as the steel mill that brings it fame.
The three-day civic, academic and trade mission was led by Mayor Susan Narvaiz and City Manager Rick Menchaca, and coordinated by the Center for Latin American Commerce at Texas State University-San Marcos, the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce, and the City of San Marcos. The focus of the trip was for the cities to work together to increase trade, share ideas for commerce, and exchange best practices.
The sister city relationship between San Marcos and Monclova was formalized in 2004, but it actually began 20-years ago when former San Marcos fireman, Roy McMullin, first offered assistance and outdated fire equipment to the struggling counterparts in Monclova. The San Marcos Fire Department continued to volunteer their personal time and used equipment over the many years.
The three-day mission, partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Business and International Education program, was coordinated by Dr. Jack Mogab, Center for Latin American Commerce, McCoy College of Business Administration at Texas State University-San Marcos. “The function of the Center is to serve as a link between the McCoy College and the local and international community,” Mogab said. “This trip was really an opportunity for us to put into practice the Center’s mission by linking the university, and the local and international communities together to explore cultural, academic and business opportunities. We look forward to building upon the relationships established during the visit.”
Chamber leaders exchanged ideas, educators discussed potential collaboration, and training sessions were conducted by representatives of the San Marcos Police and Fire departments. “Our meetings with our sister Chamber in Monclova, ‘CANACO Monclova,’ were both interesting and productive,” said Phyllis Snodgrass, San Marcos Chamber of Commerce President. “We learned that we have much in common and exchanged fundraising ideas, advocacy strategies and other best practices. We are looking forward to a long-term relationship that is mutually beneficial for both communities”.
Trade opportunities also were explored with local economic development officials, and included tours of local manufacturing operations. “Our follow-up will include matchmaking between companies in both cities, but the hardest part is complete. We established relationships that will make this next step much easier,” said Amy Madison, Economic Development San Marcos.
The interest in trading is a two-way street. Texas’ largest export partner is Mexico. According to the Department of Commerce, Texas traded $56 billion worth of goods in 2007. Texas imports over $120 billion in product from Mexico each year.
Economic Development San Marcos is a public-private partnership between the City of San Marcos and the Greater San Marcos Chamber of Commerce that is responsible for creating new primary jobs through business retention, expansion, and recruitment. The organization has a 12-member board that also oversees incentive requests and the economic development strategic plan for the city.